Speech Pathologist or Speech Teacher: what’s the difference?

In brief …

Speech Teachers (or Speech and Drama teachers, or Public Speaking teachers) usually qualify through public examinations offered by organizations such as the AGME. Speech teachers use a variety of activities to help students with formation of speech sounds, voice production, body language, and presentation skills.

Speech Pathologists (or Speech Therapists) have degrees in applied science, and they diagnose and treat communication disorders. They work with people who have difficulty communicating due to problems such as developmental delays, brain injuries, and learning disabilities.

Some more detail on Speech Teachers

What happens in Speech lessons?

Speech Teachers (or Speech and Drama teachers, or Public Speaking teachers) use a variety of activities and exercises to help students improve their formation of speech sounds, breath control and voice projection, techniques of emphasis, pace, pitch, pause, inflection and tone, and use of eye contact, facial expression, body language, gesture and movement.

Lessons involve the use of poetry, prose, storytelling, drama, mime, improvisation, creative speaking, prepared and impromptu talks and speeches for both business and social settings, and the creation and delivery of PowerPoint presentations.

Where do Speech lessons take place?

Teachers work in schools, workplaces and private practice. They offer one-on-one, small group and workshop modes of delivery for children and adults.

Teachers’ Associations

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have associations of Speech and Drama teachers, including lists of qualified Speech Teachers (search: Speech and Drama Teachers Association).

The AGME and Speech

Did you know that the AGME has eight different Speech syllabus documents? These include Speech and Drama, Oral Communication (Public Speaking), and Business Presentations (incorporating PowerPoint presentations). At this link you will find all the Speech Syllabi—start by looking at the document entitled ‘Syllabus Overview’: https://www.guildmusic.edu.au/syllabi-downloads/

Some more detail on Speech Pathologists
(or Speech Therapists)

According to Speech Pathology Australia

‘Speech Pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language.’

Speech Pathology Australia is the national peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia. At www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au you will find lots of interesting information, including ‘Resources for the public’, such as how to find a Speech Pathologist in your area.


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